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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 322

Paragraph Numbers 48 to 57

Volume 2

Chapter 3

Subsection 69

GOC Special Forces

48 GOC Special Forces was directly responsible to the Chief of the SADF, bypassing normal channels of command. DST made extensive use of Special Forces in their destabilisation of Southern African countries, in particular in providing training and support to surrogate forces. All sensitive Special Forces operations were vetted by the Minister of Defence and in the case of particularly sensitive operations, by the State President.

49 From its inception and until the early 1990s, the GOCs Special Forces were Maj-Gen FW Loots (1974-82); Maj-Gen AJ Liebenberg (1982-85); Maj-Gen AJM Joubert (1985-89);Maj-Gen E Webb (1989-91).

One Reconnaissance Regiment

50 1RR was based in Durban and consisted of a training component and an operational wing which provided personnel for cross-border raids such as those on Matola and Maseru. In the 1980s it was a predominantly black unit with white senior officers and with a strength of approximately 1 000. Officers commanding 1RR were Cmdt JG ‘Jannie’ Breytenbach (1972-75); Maj (T/Cmdt) JC Swart (197581); Col. E Olckers (1981-83); Col. A Bestbier (1983-88); Col. G Keulder (1988-)

Two Reconnaissance Regiment

51 2RR was a Citizen Force unit for ex-Recce members, available for emergency deployment on a Citizen Force basis. Its total strength was 2-3 000 but its operational strength only a few hundred. Between 1974-92, its OC was Maj. (later Col.) DS van der Spuy.

Three Reconnaissance Regiment

52 3RR was established in 1980 to absorb members of the Rhodesian Special Forces. Its name was later changed to Delta 40 and then Barnacle. It operated as the covert arm of Special Forces. It underwent another name change in 1986 with the formation of the CC. Its first commander was ex-Rhodesian Garth Barrett (1980-83).

Four Reconnaissance Regiment

53 4RR was located at Langebaan and its expertise focused on sea-borne skills. It was a relatively small (450-500) mainly white unit, and was involved in special sea-borne operations in Angola and Mozambique. Officers commanding 4RR were Cmdt. M Kinghorn (1978-82), Col. J Venter (1982-94) and Col. K Nel (1994-).

Five Reconnaissance Regiment

54 5RR was based outside Phalaborwa. It consisted of at least 1 000 members, mostly Mozambicans, and was organised into five field commandos (three operational; one intelligence and one logistical). Officers commanding 5RR were Maj. PJ (Joe) Verster (1975-81); Cmdt HM Blaauw (1981); Cmdt. HW Snyders (1981-3); Cmdt. AG ‘Bertie’ Sachse (1983-4); Col. JR Hills (1984-8); Col. CAJ Meerholz (1988-90); Col. AG ‘Bertie’ Sachse (1990-3); and Col. JW Engelbrecht (1993-).

South African Army

55 Specialist units of the Army included 32 Battalion and the 44 Parachute Brigade.

Battalion 32

56 32 Battalion, often referred to as the ‘Buffalo Battalion’, was created in 1976 by Col Jan Breytenbach. It was largely a black battalion and contained many foreign mercenaries. Its operational strength was approximately 1 500. Officers commanding 32 Bn were Col JD ‘Jannie’ Breytenbach (1976-7); Col GJ Nel (1977-8); Col Deon Ferreira (1978-83); Col EG Viljoen (1984-8); and Col MB Delport (88-93).

44 Parachute Brigade

57 44 Parachute Brigade, modeled on the British SAS, contained both a National Service component (one battalion) and a Citizen Force component (two battalions). If the Citizen Force members had all been deployed its strength would have been in the region of 6 000. Recent officers commanding 44 Para Bde were Brig MJ Du Plessis (1978-9); Col. JD Breytenbach (1980-2); Col. FJ Bestbier (1982-5); Col. DJ Moore (1985-9); Col. McGill Alexander (1989-92); and Col. Les Rudman (1992-4).

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